Posts Tagged ‘wood’

Fred McCarthy, Sea Mac, wooden boats, Jersey Yachts, fiberglass sport fishermen, Real Ships, steel yachts

jersey yacht boat for sale

yacht for sale Jersey Yacht listing photo

Meet the only production boat builder seabuddy knows that made boats out of wood, fiberglass, and steel (each of these different matieral boat building companies were at different times in his life) over a lifetime of messing with boats. Here are (left to right) Fred McCarthy, Etta McCarthy, and seabuddy in front of a Sea Mac wooden classic boat at Tuckerton Seaport, NJ in 2012. This photo was taken at the Philadelphia Chapter of the ACBS Antique and Classic Boat Show in this past summer.

Fred McCarthy, Etta McCarthy, seabuddy boat photo image acbs boat show

Boat Builders Fred and Etta McCarthy with seabuddy in Tuckerton, NJ

Sea Mac wood boats were mostly an outboard powered 14’ deluxe runabout water ski boat.  This boat used Philippine Mahogany lumber stock covering boards and hull framing with marine grade plywood being used pretty much everywhere else. Then; forward steering, remote controls, a windshield, and two rows of vinyl covered padded seating made for a Bill Deed designed water sports boat that handled lake, bay, inlet, and ocean waters very well.

The prototypes were tested in 1954 with a 20 horsepower outboard, but most Sea Mac wooden boats used a 40 Hp. engine with a few being repowered with a “Tower of Power” 70 Hp Mercury Marine outboard. This boat was tuff and many boats outlasted more than one motor’s life span on its transom. Once, this sporty runabout was a prize on the TV show, “The Price is Right, in the 1961 show season. The company also built 8’ prams in New Jersey. The Sea Mac boat brand disappeared in around 1963.

award winning outboard classic wooden boat

Scott Wahlberg photo of 14' classic outboard wood at the St. Michaels Boat Festival

Jersey Yachts and/or Jersey Boat Works were sport fishing fiberglass boats 28’ to 47’ in length. Many of the boats crafted were the popular 31’ and 40’ models. Besides changing over from a wood boat builder to manufacturing fiberglass boats, Fred took his new company from single outboards to twin inboards for power. And then, later, he took it from gas engines to diesel power as the boats got bigger. I think of Fred McCarthy’s Jersey Yachts fiberglass boat building business as alive from 1964 to 1988.

boats for sale yachts photo image

Listing photo for a Real Ship for sale

Real Ships, which was given its company name by Etta, started up around 1993, after several years of living and cruising aboard a yacht by the McCarthys. They build steel hulled, ship-like yachts from 61’ to 76’ in length. These are typically Jay Benford / Fred McCarthy designed 40 to 80 ton long range displacement cruisers, built one at a time.

More info…


Name the Riva, please

wood boat photo image Riva yacht

Note the toe rail on the fore deck on this Riva

We are having a great discussion with some expert classic wooden Riva fans, restorers, and current/past owners of the brand via email. I am a fan, the others are, too. I may be right or wrong in a post here at, but I try for the truth in discussing boats. They are a long time love.
In one of my articles on Riva wood boats, I posted some photos and that started our current discussion. I enjoy such opportunities to learn and talk about boats. Everyone has a voice and input to the base of knowledge about classic Riva boats.
So, this is the wood boat. These are some additional Riva boat photo images taken by me on the same day of the same boat. Plus, here is a link back to the other write-up and pictures of the same Classic Wood Riva Boat taken the same day as these were.

Some boat model name choices are Tritone, Ariston, Super Ariston, Aquarama, Super Aquarama, and Long Super Aquarama. These are single and twin engine boat models and perhaps the first point would be to decide if this classic has one or two engines. Next think about the hatches on the rear deck as they I.D. some models. Next, look at the dashboard where some script and gauges and the throttle/shift information is mounted around the steering wheel. Then the raised toe rail at the outside edge of the foredeck and the presence of a siren are clues.

classic wood boat Riva bow photo image

detail photo of the boat's bow

This is not a contest. It is a desire to correctly name this classic wood Riva boat model.

windshield of classic wood Riva boat photo image

look for clues that indicate what model Riva that this boat is, here

I went to print with my model name thoughts in the link I have put into this posting, but I now I believe my I.D. to be at least suspect if not downright wrong. Please use to join in the discussion.

Riva wood classic boat photo image

Do you think this is a one or two engined boat?


I have heard from an impectable source that the boat is a 1966 Riva Super. She is unusal in that she has hatches on her aft deck, not the main stream for this model, sun lounge pad that Ted Kennedy once made infamous. Power is twin 427 engines.

Thanks. This was fun!

Classic Riva Wooden Boats

classic mahogany wooden boat boat image photo of the boat bow

note the siren as well as a horn on this Riva Super Ariston

An Ariston and the Super Ariston are the single engine style of the Riva Aquarama classic wood boat. These runabout boats are considered the top classic mahogany, cedar, and oak wood boats that used only the best wood, hardware, glass, and marine parts from Italy, France, Switzerland, England, Belgium and other countries to give a wooden boat owner simply the best product that the Riva Factory could build.

Riva Yachts selected its lumber by hand. They seasoned that lumber that went into the boats themselves; they decided when it was ready for boat building, where on the boat it had its best use, and how it was to be used with screws, glue, and then finished. Almost all of a boat was sprayed several time and then hand brushed several more times to a high gloss polished varnish bright finish. Some interior boards were called out on every model for a paint finish, however, and lesser quality wood was used there. Think about areas like the seat frames, under the bow, side, and aft decks for a painted finish.

Windshield glass, screws, the metal for the boat’s hardware, and much of the material used in the seating was out sourced from other counties. Engines came from the USA. The varnish used in the finish of their classic boats was Italian.

A great book on the history, boats, and boat owners of Riva Boats is Riva by Roberto Franzoni. It is a hardcover book that is printed in several languages within each copy. Like these classic wood boats, this book is rare. It is now an out-of-print book. sometimes has a book collector type seller that is willing to part with his or her copy, if you want one for more information about Riva Classic Wood Boats.

The photos here are seabuddy photos.

aft & amidships boat photo image of a Riva Super Ariston classic wood

The engine and inboard drive line is under the hatches

Classic mahogany wood boat by Gar Wood

Gar Wood 18' classic 1932 mahogany wood boat photo image

one of five still remaining 1932 Gar Wood 18 wooden runabout

This 18 foot boat is a beauty. She is one of only 28 boats made in this model in 1932 by the famous Gar Wood boat building company. That makes her a rare piece of wooden boat building history. She is one of just five of these boats left still around in the world. That fact makes her super rare. Her condition then makes her even more of a sought after rare classic boat. This is as nice as it gets in an under 20’ classic boat.

It was in 1911 that Gar Wood got the racing “bug”. By 1916 he had bought a well-used Chris Smith made Chris Craft race boat. At that time Chris Smith was calling his company the C. C. Smith Boat & Engine Co. Wood also became the largest shareholder of Chris Smith’s company. He and Chris Smith split their boat building interests in 1921. Gar Wood then created the Gar Wood Company to build his pleasure and race boats. His first boat building plant was in Algonac, MI. At this plant was the start of the 33′ “Baby Gar” Runabout that was then and now so famous. That small almost custom boat building shop was supplemented by a bigger plant in Marysville, MI. Gar Wood in his Marysville plant made a 28’ runabout and a 22 footer starting in 1930. The Baby Gar thirty three foot runabout was still being made in Algonac along with a 40’ cruiser. It was in 1932 that this 18’ twin cockpit (or split cockpit) runabout shown here was introduced.

If this boat was a nice but not the best restored copy and perhaps re-powered with a more modern engine she seems to be able to bring around a $50,000 price today. This one; with its very high level of a truly total restoration, all correct parts, it’s level of fit and finish that must be seem to be fully appreciated, may very well bring more along the lines of a $250,000 price if it was to be a classic wooden boat for sale.

Owens wooden runabout boat under restoration

wood side rails of a classic Owens wooden boat photo image

see the mix of old and new in this classic wood Owens boat photo

This Owens Flagship is an outboard powered boat. Here the boat has been flipped right-side up. At this stage, much of the selecting, fitting, scarfing, and screwing / securing of the new sections of wood in conjunction with the boat’s existing bottom and hull side work has been done. Note the mix of old and new wood. is just starting to work on fitting the boat’s deck pieces back into their original position. Those sections that are still good pieces will be the beginning of defining a runabout deck, side rails, motor well, and cockpit for this Owens wooden boat restoration. Some of the new wood is being trial fitted as shown in these photos. Much of a runabout’s look and impact on the water will come from the deck. Most Antique and Classic Boat Society boat owners like to be reviewed or judged by experts against a very exacting set of standards. For that and other reasons, this classic outboard powered runabout needs to be restored to the highest level of fit and finish.

The dash board of this Classic Owens outboard was saved by George Hazzard and his crew as much of it can be cleaned, stripped, stained, and finished with many coats of varnish. Wooden Boat Restoration, LLC has a very complete paint booth on site to best achieve that high level of finish that makes for a boat that fellow boaters look at with admiration.

The steering wheel and its assembly are to get their own separate attention for a proper total classic boat restoration. I have seen George’s work on these types of somewhat side issues and must say that his inventiveness and attention to detail is outstanding.

new wood transom mixed with old wood of wooden Owens runabout boat photo

new wood for the transom of classic wood outboard Owens runabout

wood dash board for classic wood Owens runabout restoration

original wood dash for this classic wooden Owens runabout

Classic wood boat, Stauter Built Runabout for fishing

Classic design Stauter Built wood runabout boat photo

Stauter-Built boats is a classic wood boat that often has used the same design as they have for many years.

classic wood boat photo from stauter built

Most are pure open fishing boats. A few are somewhat decked over and are used as a wooden runabout. All use a antique or modern outboard motor for power. They are light and easy to power as they use a shallow draft, almost flat bottom hull design to get performance from low horsepower outboards.

classic wood runabout boat photo

Take a restored classic wooden boat like I show here. Its powered by an old, antique motor. The photos show the loving attention to keeping an old boat, a good, useful boat that is an antique and classic boat show standout. She is mostly a plywood boat, glued and screwed together to take on most waters.

classic wood fishing boat stauter built

I show another Stauter Built boat from their promotional material. It is 151/2’ long and 51/2’ in its beam. It can take up to a 50 Hp. outboard engine and weights in around 425 lbs. It is a Vee shaped bow to cut through the chop coupled with a fairly flat deadrise across the transom boat design. Not a deep vee offshore racer.

She is intended for the waters around Dauphin Island in the Gulf of Mexico, which is roughly 40 miles south of Mobile, AL.

This new wood fishing boat is called the V-bottom Cedar Point Special by Stauter-Built. She maybe a classic in design, but it is too new in its date of manufacture to be an antique boat.

classic wood boat photo of a open fishing runabout outboard

wood boat photo of stauter built runabout fishing model

1959 Wood Lyman 16.5 outboard runabout power boat

wood power boat 1959 Lyman 16.5 foot outboard model

This power boat is shown being restored in Maine. The photo is from Androscoggin Wooden Boat Works (207) 685-9805. It shows the nice work that they do, particularly on Lyman Boats. This classic outboard runabout is said to be a boat for sale and at a very attractive price. Give them a telephone call if this is something that you need for this upcoming summer boating adventure season.

This outboard Lyman boat seems to have been updated with a painted finish rather than a varnished, but not stained, boat hull interior. The seats, deck and other parts show, to me, the correct, as built, finishes. Lyman mahogany filler stain with varnish over that would be the proper choice. Lyman was also known for its use of ribbon striped (sometimes called tiger striped) mahogany veneered marine-grade plywood in its decks. Check for that feature on this boat. Most restorers use a different style of mahogany plywood if they replace the deck on a Lyman runabout.

The 16.5 foot boat was a popular boat model and it was in production from 1957-1960. In 1959 they made 366 of these. It is a 16’ 7” long runabout with a beam of 70”. It weighs 560 lbs. and could take up to a 60 Hp outboard. That is Hp that is rated at the power head, not rated at the prop shaft as outboards are rated today. Use an older motor or drop back to a maximum rating of about 54 Hp. She goes real well with a 35 Hp, by the way.

Lymans are clinker built or a lapstrake construction style of planking. Each plank edge overlaps the other and are clinched nailed to the ribs and screwed to the frames such that an edge is shown at each plank its full length along the hull side that helps soften the ride, and they are flexible boats that can twist over the waves somewhat to give a better ride than a classic boat person would expect. Ride a Lyman to experience this for yourself. I know of several prior owners of carvel, hard chine classic wood boats that marvel at the ride that they get in their Lyman compared to what they are used to.

By the way, get a Lyman model a little older than this model year and you will see a dimpled finish in the planking on the outside of the hull. Lyman used a duck billed clinch nail for better holding strength and sometime (in the mid-50s?) began to completely fair over both the screws and the duck billed nails for a smooth exterior finish.

Color photos of Streblow custom wood power boats

Want some outstanding color photographs of these storied boats? Get a collector grade copy of the vinyl covered hardback book titled Classic Powercraft volume I. The book is full of color pictures of antique and classic boats taken at the highest quality level for wooden boat photography. It is sold out of print, so a used book or a copy from a personal collection is the way to go for this great book.

Streblow Custom Boats are mahogany wooden runabouts built since the early nineteen fifties that set a standard of quality of design and workmanship for wood boats. These are wood runabouts that are doubled planked on their bottoms and batten seamed planked mahogany hull sides. A special finish technique and secret rot resistant construction techniques make these floating art works different from a regular wood boat.

The boat builder is located in Walworth, WI, (262-728-6898) near the shoreline of Geneva Lake where they are a boat builder, restoration shop, and a marine boat dealer.

While they do several millions of dollars of business each year, expect to wait up to three years in good times for a new boat. They only build up to two boats  in any given year to keep the quality up. Heck, it has been said that just selecting the wood for a boat takes weeks of combing through the choices of planking on hand.

Back to the book, get one for the photography. It is just the best there is out there on wood boats. The cover is even a full color photograph of a Streblow set into a lovely vinyl cover or binding.

Wooden Power Boat, a racing runabout

This one is a 1954 Chris craft. An ideal mahogany classic two cockpit runabout. With a big flathead Chris Craft she gives a great ride at normal antique and classic boat speeds and a real thrill when the throttle is opened up even more.

Specs on the boat is 18’ 11” in length and she has a beam of 6’ 1”. Her overall weight runs in the 2,100 to 2,400 lbs. area. Chris Craft built 503 of them in a production series from 1948 to 1954.

She is not a bow rider and one must change which cockpit to sit in at dockside, as this power boat is a true runabout and not a utility. She is almost all deck, engine room, two rows of seats and little, if any, walking around room in the cockpit areas.

I got a ride on a Pennsylvania Lake in a similar boat that belongs to a friend that was also lovingly restored and its ride and handling during that fresh water cruise was really a terrific experience. That one had an extremely special Chris Craft engine rebuild by an out of state noted engine builder of classic engines.

Chris Craft offered this wood power boat model in either a natural wood stained and highly varnished hull and deck or as a painted red and white finished powerboat. Most came with the seating areas finished in a Chinese red or red hue, but blue was a choice, as I understand it, but not in all of the model years the Racing Runabout was built post WWII.

The photos are from Moores Marine,  that did this runabout’s restoration. Great workmanship and attention to detail is shown in the work coming from Moores you can see.

This one is a 1954 model Chris Craft

early on in the restoration work

Do wood power boats always work?

Let me tell you a story about: John Hacker, the noted race boat and runabout  boat designer; Ernest Wilson, Harold Wilson, and Harold’s finance and later, wife, Lorna, a famous boat racing family; the Gold Cup races and its boat class; Greavette Boats of Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada; and Harry Miller of the famous Miller car racing engines fame. They were all involved in a Gold Cupper named Miss Canada II a racing boat.

Miss Canada II, the Gold Cup class race boat, was designed by Hacker for the Wilsons, at their request. They also engaged Miller to design and build a 1,000 Hp. engine  that met the rules of the racing class. The boat was built by Greavette and the Miller engine was shipped there for installation. The engine never did run at Greavette and it and the race boat were shipped off to Lake George, NY, which was the race site. On race day, the engine broke before the race started. Thus the boat and the famous Wilsons did not get to race. After repairs, the engine did work for three laps at a later in the season race, before it broke again. Thus, that year’s racing season went  past without Miss Canada II ever finishing any race, let alone winning a race.

The following racing season, the Greavette boat, Miller engine, and the racing Wilsons did get some competition laps in, but did not win a race as pieces of the boat interior broke up, and the boat, while fast, was found to be too lightly built to stay together long enough finish a race. Thus ended the second season of boat racing for Miss Canada II.

After more work over the following winter on both the engine and boat, she started her 3rd racing season. The next summer, it was found out that the boat strengthening work done by the boat builder had changed the handling balance of Miss Canada II and she was deemed too hard to handle to win races and allow her driver and mechanic to stay alive while doing so.

The Wilsons ordered a new race boat from a different boat designer, for the next year. Miss Canada III, as the new boat was named, was a race winner.